人人住得起六千呎大屋 6,000 sqf house could be affordable for all

杜汶澤這段節目精華看了又看還是覺得很過癮。先說明一下,我對大房子沒有感覺,亦不知道房子住得這麼寬敞到底有何用處,但我祇想從現實層面研究一下:實際上,在霹靂州首府怡保是有可能人人住得起六千呎大屋。

去年疫情剛剛在馬來西亞爆發,上台就任才兩週的首相慕尤丁宣佈全國封鎖,經濟活動幾乎完全停擺,房地產產業當然亦無法倖免地慘澹經營。記得那時候我在網上瀏覽就看到怡保市區附近有大房子以五百令吉的優惠價(粵語說「跳樓價」)放租,呎數多少我忘記了,反正就是一千多平方呎以上。若有人當時眼明手快以每個月五百元租下來簽兩年合同,應該是非常划算的交易。

我亦記得七、八年前在怡保看過房子,三層樓透天厝有電梯,叫價六十五萬令吉。以當時匯率來說,這個價格在台灣也就祇有五百萬台幣左右,在大台北地區想要上車置業大概是難若登天。

現在疫情肆虐全球超過一年半,隨便在網上亂找,也看到六千、八千平方呎的怡保大洋房,月租可能三千、四千馬幣。若有人跟朋友合租同住,幾個人祇要一人出資一千元馬幣就可以住下來了。

若開公司需要五人、六人日夜奮戰,跟會計師請款讓公司承租,直接免去租辦公室的煩惱而且外地來上班的員工可以有住宿。

以這個價位來說,理論上在怡保是人人都住得起大房子,但問題是:有需要這麼大的房子嗎?當怡保市場上有更多選擇的時候,一千多、兩千平方呎也可以住得很舒適,大概很多人會想要避開三、五千平方呎的大房子,畢竟打掃並非容易,而且不知道要請多少個傭人才能長期維持整潔。

知道總是好事,但知道了未必代表我們一定要去住,而是知道我若忽然有這個住在超大房子的念頭,那是絕對辦得到的事。相比起在香港,你從小就知道那是想要做都做不到的事,而且不論買或租,那個價格在香港永遠是遙不可及的天價,你很自然會很羨慕住在大房子的人。

但你又知不知道,當你從一千呎到六千、八千呎都有得選擇的時候,你反而比較可能要一個比較小一些的?這就說明了人在有選擇、沒選擇的情況之下,思路可能都不大相同。當然,若我窮盡一生的努力都祇有能力在香港買一個四百呎小單位,在怡保找個六千呎大洋房住個幾年當然也是非常過癮的事。

It is always enjoyable to view this video excerpt of Chapman To’s show. I shall, however, make things clear that I have no feeling for big houses and I do not know what the purpose is to live in a very spacious house. But I am writing this blog article to explore feasibility in real life: practically speaking, everybody is able to live in a 6,000 square feet house in Ipoh, the capital of Perak State in Malaysia.

Recalling 2020 when Malaysia saw the outbreak of the pandemic, the economy almost halted when the then prime minister Muhyiddin, just two weeks in office, announced a nationwide lockdown. Inevitably, the real estate market was also hard hit. It was during that time I searched online and saw a big house in Ipoh town area looking to be leased for RM500. In Cantonese language, this was a ‘jump-from-the-building price level’. The size I wasn’t very sure but I was certain it was more than 1,000 sqf. Should someone act quick and sign the lease agreement for two years with a monthly rate of RM500, that would have been a very good deal.

About seven to eight years ago, I viewed some properties in Ipoh and came across a three-storey house with lift asking for about RM650,000. According to the exchange rate back then, it was equivalent to NT$5,000,000—basically it was, and it still is, very difficult to buy a flat in Greater Taipei, namely Taipei City and New Taipei City.

18 months since the pandemic rocked the world, a random search on the internet would find you a 6,000 to 8,000 sqf Ipoh house with a monthly rate of 3,000 to 4,000MYR. If you stay with your friends, several housemates paying RM1,000 each and you would be able to live in the house.

If yours is a start-up that needs five to six staff members to work around the clock, get the accountant to approve to lease the house. That way, your company saves the trouble of renting office and non-local colleagues have a place to stay.

Theoretically speaking, everybody could afford a big house in Ipoh at this rate. But the problem is whether you need such a spacious house. When the Ipoh property market offers more choices and when people are able to lead a comfortable lifestyle in a 1,000 to 2,000 sqf house, many might want to shun 3,000 to 5,000 sqf houses. The reason is more than obvious: cleaning would be a nightmare, and you wouldn’t know how many helpers you need to hire to maintain cleanliness at home in the long run.

It is always good to know about this, though. We know this is feasible but this doesn’t mean we must live in a big house. Instead, I know this is absolutely affordable if an idea of living in a spacious house comes across my mind.

This is very different in Hong Kong: since a very young age you knew that was impossible, because the selling price or lease rate was forever an out-of-touch price tag in Hong Kong. And you are quite likely to envy those who live in bigger houses.

It is also possible, however, that when we have choices from 1,000 to 6,000 or 8,000 sqf, we are quite likely to choose a smaller one? When we have an abundance of choices we would think differently from the struggle to look for a way out when there was virtually no way out at all.

Of course, if I were an Hongkonger who could only afford a 400 sqf flat no matter how hard I work throughout my own life, it would certainly be very interesting to live in a 6,000 sqf house in Ipoh, even for only several years.